Wednesday 30 November 2022
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State Gives Syracuse a $350K Grant to Rehabilitate Homes Abandoned Following Foreclosure

Home Foreclosure document and legal gavelHome foreclosure is a huge problem across New York State, leaving abandoned “zombie” homes unkempt and not maintained for extended periods of time. Statistics show that one in every 200 homes will be foreclosed upon — many in Central New York.

State and federal authorities reached a settlement with Morgan Stanley after the company misrepresented subprime mortgage loans to investors, causing many properties to be foreclosed upon.

In July 2016, NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman used a portion of the state’s $550 million share of the settlement to spearhead the Zombie Remediation and Prevention Initiative. The settlement itself totaled $3.2 billion.

The initiative was put into motion following the passing of the Abandoned Property Neighborhood Relief Act, which Schneiderman wrote and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law during a visit to Solvay on June 23. During his visit, Cuomo said that “banks would rather shirk their responsibility” than maintain the homes that they seize during foreclosure.

“We’re getting tired of the banks making money on the backs of hard-working New Yorkers and hard-working Americans,” Cuomo added.

Schneiderman says that while the exact numbers are hard to quantify, 2015 data by Realty Trac estimates that there are 16,000 zombie homes standing throughout New York State. Shares of the state’s allocated $12.6 million Zombie Remediation budget has been distributed to 76 cities, towns, and villages across the state, based on need.

To qualify for the grants, the community must have at least 5,000 residents and at least 100 vacant or abandoned properties. The city of Syracuse received $350,000 of the state’s funds, tied for the highest dollar amount with Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City.

The grants are intended to help struggling communities that are still left with vacant homes from the housing crisis of 2008, as well as resolve the homes that were abandoned following extended foreclosure periods.

The neglect of these vacant homes is said to invite crime, threaten public safety, and decrease surrounding property values.

Syracuse plans to use $180,000 toward its Blight Busting program, which is an ongoing clean-up effort that the city has implemented to restore vacant properties.

The charges accumulated during clean-up will be added to the tax bill on the properties. The funds will eventually be recycled and up-shared for other maintenance and clean-up efforts.

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